Archive for the ‘Sonic/Musical’ Category


“10 Songs that Saved your Life”

December 8, 2013

Inspired by the project “ten songs that saved your life” and encouraged by my good friend Angel Rafael Vázquez-Concepción (artist/curator/provocateur/head of Cranium Devices (Facebook)), I chose a selection of 10 songs that “saved my life.” These musical pieces are some of the most significative songs of my life to this day. Each one of these following tracks was responsible for changing my mindset in some way, rescuing from (or comforting me during) dark moments, inspiring creative change, provoking goosebumps, changing my perception of the world, or how I move through it (dancing). In one way or another, I always find myself returning to them.

(…in the order they were heard)

01. Silvio Rodríguez – Testamento

02. Fela Kuti – Alu Jon Jonki Jon

03. Sergio Mendes – Tiro Cruzado

04. Pink Floyd – Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict

05. Michel Camilo – Suite Sandrine I

06. Steve Reich – Drumming (Parts I-IV)

07. Björk – Possibly Maybe (Lucy Mix)

08. Yma Sumac – Chuncho

09. Stereolab – Come and Play in the Milky Night

10. To Rococo Rot – A Little Asphalt Here and There

There are much more, but the deal was 10.


Senses Of Vibration: A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound

October 22, 2013

The study of the senses has become a rich topic in recent years. Senses of Vibration explores a wide range of sensory experience and makes a decisive new contribution to this growing field by focussing not simply on the senses as such, but on the material experience – vibration – that underpins them.
This is the first book to take the theme of vibration as central, offering an interdisciplinary history of the phenomenon and its reverberations in the cultural imaginary. It tracks vibration through the work of a wide range of writers, including physiologists (who thought vibrations in the nerves delivered sensations to the brain), physicists (who claimed that light, heat, electricity and other forms of energy were vibratory), spiritualists (who figured that spiritual energies also existed in vibratory form), and poets and novelists from Coleridge to Dickens and Wells. Senses of Vibration is a work of scholarship that cuts through a range of disciplines and will reverberate for many years to come.

Senses of Vibration
A History of the Pleasure and Pain of Sound
By: Shelley Trower

Text & Image via Bloomsbury


David Lynch filming Nine Inch Nails Video

September 4, 2013

A selection of photographs taken by Rob Sheridan. From Nine Inch Nails on Tumblr: ‘David Lynch filming Trent Reznor for the Came Back Haunted video, at Lynch’s studio in Los Angeles.’ The single is included on the new NIN album, Hesitation Marks. After seeing the video, these photographs seem more evocative.


How Do Our Brains Process Music? by David Byrne

August 3, 2013

In an excerpt from his new book, David Byrne explains why sometimes, he prefers hearing nothing:

“I listen to music only at very specific times. When I go out to hear it live, most obviously. When I’m cooking or doing the dishes I put on music, and sometimes other people are present. When I’m jogging or cycling to and from work down New York’s West Side Highway bike path, or if I’m in a rented car on the rare occasions I have to drive somewhere, I listen alone. And when I’m writing and recording music, I listen to what I’m working on. But that’s it.

I find music somewhat intrusive in restaurants or bars. Maybe due to my involvement with it, I feel I have to either listen intently or tune it out. Mostly I tune it out; I often don’t even notice if a Talking Heads song is playing in most public places. Sadly, most music then becomes (for me) an annoying sonic layer that just adds to the background noise.

As music becomes less of a thing—a cylinder, a cassette, a disc—and more ephemeral, perhaps we will start to assign an increasing value to live performances again. After years of hoarding LPs and CDs, I have to admit I’m now getting rid of them. I occasionally pop a CD into a player, but I’ve pretty much completely converted to listening to MP3s either on my computer or, gulp, my phone! For me, music is becoming dematerialized, a state that is more truthful to its nature, I suspect. Technology has brought us full circle.”

Text and Image via the Smithsonian. Continue THERE


‘RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES MEMORIES’, a Daft Punk Reinterpretation by Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington

July 9, 2013

Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington have teamed up previously under the moniker Darkside, and now they paired up to dissect and recreate RAM under the name Daftside, turning the record into something much more robotic.


The Reach Of Resonance

May 27, 2013

Filmed in ten countries, “The Reach Of Resonance” is a meditation on the meaning of music, which juxtaposes the creative paths of four musicians who use music to cultivate a deeper understanding of the world around them. Among them are Miya Masaoka using music to interact with insects and plants; Jon Rose, utilizing a violin bow to turn fences into musical instruments in conflict zones ranging from the Australian outback to Palestine; John Luther Adams translating the geophysical phenomena of Alaska into music; and Bob Ostertag, who explores global socio-political issues through processes as diverse as transcribing a riot into a string quartet, and creating live cinema with garbage.

By contrasting the creative paths of these artists, and an unexpected connection between them by the world renowned Kronos Quartet, the film explores music not as a form of entertainment, career, or even self-expression, but as a tool to develop more deeply meaningful relationships with people and the complexities of the world they live in. Text via


The surprising uses for birdsong

May 13, 2013

A 90-second daily show highlighting the songs of British birds has started on BBC Radio 4 this week. But birdsong isn’t just beautiful to listen to, it is increasingly being used in surprising ways.

Can a nightingale’s song help you pass an exam or a blackbird’s twittering encourage you to open a bank account? Sound experts are using it to do both.

They argue the positive results speak for themselves even though researchers say there is little hard scientific evidence to show people respond positively to birds singing. Most support for the theory is anecdotal.

So what are the innovative ways it is being used?

Via BBC. Read article THERE



May 13, 2013

Fullscreen it.

Daniel Sierra’s animation done at School of Visual Arts, class of 2013, Computer Art MFA.. Music download link:
Software used: Houdini (animation), Reason (music), Nuke (comp), After Effects (final render), Processing (pre-viz)
A full description of the piece along with some still frames can be found at:


Book-ish Territory: A manual of alternative library tactics

May 3, 2013

Book-ish Territory: A Manual of Alternative Library Tactics by architect NIkki O’Loughlin is an exciting and interesting way of conceptualizing the idea of libraries as a public space not just for the public but by the public. Read it HERE


Hear the Voice of Alexander Graham Bell

April 27, 2013

Almost as if you were hearing one of those paranormal registers by discarnate entities (spirits, nature energies, beings from other dimensions, or extraterrestrials) released by EVP enthusiasts, you will hear the crackling elder voice of Alexander Graham Bell. This, however, is Bell’s actual voice made available by Smithsonian researchers using optical technology to rescue it from unplayable records.

“Bell conducted his sound experiments between 1880 and 1886, collaborating with his cousin Chichester Bell and technician Charles Sumner Tainter. They worked at Bell’s Volta Laboratory, at 1221 Connecticut Avenue in Washington, originally established inside what had been a stable. In 1877, his great rival, Thomas Edison, had recorded sound on embossed foil; Bell was eager to improve the process. Some of Bell’s research on light and sound during this period anticipated fiber-optic communications.

Inside the lab, Bell and his associates bent over their pioneering audio apparatus, testing the potential of a variety of materials, including metal, wax, glass, paper, plaster, foil and cardboard, for recording sound, and then listening to what they had embedded on discs or cylinders. However, the precise methods they employed in early efforts to play back their recordings are lost to history.

Today, however, a dramatic application of digital technology has allowed researchers to recover Bell’s voice from a recording held by the Smithsonian—a breakthrough announced here for the first time. From the 1880s on, until his death in 1922, Bell gave an extensive collection of laboratory materials to the Smithsonian Institution, where he was a member of the Board of Regents. The donation included more than 400 discs and cylinders Bell used as he tried his hand at recording sound. The holdings also documented Bell’s research, should patent disputes arise similar to the protracted legal wrangling that attended the invention of the telephone.”

(This text is an excerpt of an article written by Charlotte Gray at the Smithsonian magazine. Read this great article in full HERE) All images via the Smithsonian.

This wax-and-cardboard disc from 1885 contains a recording of Bell’s voice. (Richard Strauss / NMAH, SI)


Spaces On Earth Where No One Can Hear You Scream

April 13, 2013

A few days ago, the European Space Agency issued a series of photographs taken in one of the agency’s anechoic chambers, in the “zone of silence” as the title of the press release says. So what is an anechoic chamber? It is an echo-free room where the walls coated with special materials absorb all reflections of sound or electromagnetic waves and insulate any noise coming from outside, thus it simulates a quiet open-space of infinite dimension, which is quite useful in the aerospace industry. Text and Images via io9. See more HERE

The ‘anechoic chamber’. Can you bear Earth’s quietest place ?


Listen to the Surface of the Earth Transposed on Vinyl Record – by Art of Failure

April 12, 2013

FLAT EARTH SOCIETY proposes a transposition of the earth elevation at the scale of a microgroove record. This engraving of elevation’s data on the surface of the disk generates in consequence a subtle image of the earth. When played on a turntable, the chain of elevation data crossed by the needle can be heard.

“Can we hear the Earth? Not the sounds occurring upon it but the Earth on a geophysical scale? [...]
The hill-and-dale technique was used in Edison’s phonograph, recording sound with a stylus that vertically cut a minute landscape into the grooves of the cylinder. [...] Flat earth society takes readings from the stylus of topographic radar, cuts them into vinyl and then plays them back with a stylus. Phonographic hills-and-dales grow into the Alps, Andes, Himalayas, Grand Canyon, Great Steppe, Great Rift Valley, Great Outback and the Lesser Antilles. Where Enrico Caruso and Nellie Melba once sang one hears the Baja Peninsula, Antarctic Peninsula, and the bathymetric pauses of the Red Sea and Baffin Bay. [...] Peaks and valleys, spikes and wells, spires and troughs, aspirations and depressions, all have their gradations in mythical and actual landscapes.”
– Douglas Kahn

Learn more about this project HERE


Cube with Magic Ribbons

April 12, 2013

Cube with Magic Ribbons is a computer visual and synthesised sound composition for live performance. The piece takes its title from a drawing of M.C.Escher which is rich with contradictory perspectives but it is also inspired by the wrapped spaces found in the two dimensional graphics of early computer games such as Asteroids and Pac-Man. It was created using a custom visual sequencer SoundCircuit, which rather than employing a conventional DAW layout, allows multiple virtual tape-heads to travel through a two-dimensional wrapped space along tracks that can be freely inter-connected. As the tape-heads travel through the resultant network, the topological layout of the tracks comes to directly influence the macro form of the music. Furthermore, as the piece unfolds the nature of this already confusing space reveals itself to be increasingly elastic and complex, yet inexorably intertwined with the musical form.


Der Golem by Harmash

April 11, 2013

Der Golem is Vitali Harmash’s deep drone electroacoustic reinterpretation of a silent magical story of Golem. These soft crackles and clouds of time-dust sound as though the music is broadcasted straight through the centuries. Seems like Harmash has some kabbalistic drone generator in his studio.

Album was created after Paul`s Wegener “The Golem: How He Came into the World” silent horror film scoring. Performance was hold in the oldest Minsk cinema “Raketa” at Dec12 2012 where opened a week of silent German cinema.

Download THERE


Captain Murphy’s DUALITY

April 11, 2013



POSTCARDS | Entertainment for the braindead

March 29, 2013

entertainment for the Braindead is a Berlin based one woman lofi orchestra. Since 2007 she has been writing and publishing songs, gathering guitars and banjos, ukuleles, flutes and other little items to accompany her voice in fragile arrangements.


Play Me, I’m Yours and The Sky Orchestra

March 27, 2013

Touring internationally since 2008, “Play Me, I’m Yours” is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over two million people worldwide – more than 700 pianos have already been installed in 34 cities across the globe, from New York to London, bearing the simple instruction ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’.

Located in public parks, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries and markets and even on bridges and ferries the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. Who plays them and how long they remain on the streets is up to each community. Many pianos are personalised and decorated by artists or the local community. By creating a place of exchange ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment.

Play Me, I’m Yours is currently taking place in Monterey in California until 24 March 2013. Watch out for Street Pianos coming to Munich, Cleveland OH, Omaha NE and Boston MA later in 2013! Watch this space as we will be announcing further new cities for 2013 over the coming months.

The Sky Orchestra is an artwork designed to deliver music to sleeping people from out of the sky. A form of provocative urban art, Sky Orchestra questions the boundaries of public artwork, private space and the ownership of the sky.

The Sky Orchestra is made up of seven hot air balloons, each with speakers attached, which take off (at dawn or dusk) and fly across a city. Each balloon plays a different element of a musical score, creating a massive audio landscape.

Many thousands of people experience the Sky Orchestra event live as the balloons fly over their homes at dawn. The airborne project is both a vast spectacular performance as well as an intimate, personal experience. A form of provocative acoustic urban art, Sky Orchestra questions the boundaries of public artwork, private space and the ownership of the sky.

All text and images via Luke Jerram.


The Great Stalacpipe Organ

March 26, 2013

Located in the Cathedral is the Great Stalacpipe Organ, the world’s largest musical instrument. Stalactites covering 3 1/2 acres of the surrounding caverns produce tones of symphonic quality when electronically tapped by rubber-tipped mallets. This one-of-a-kind instrument was conceived by Mr. Leland W. Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia, a mathematician and electronics scientist at the Pentagon.

After visiting the caverns with his son and experiencing the organ-like sounds of a stalactite being tapped, Mr. Sprinkle submitted a complex plan for a stalactite-tapping instrument. It took 36 years of frustrating research, design and experimentation to bring his dream to its present state of perfection. Three years alone were spent searching the vast chambers of the caverns to select and carefully sand stalactites to precisely match the musical scale. Only two stalactites were found to be in tune naturally.

The four-keyboard console of The Great Stalacpipe Organ was constructed by the Klann Organ Supply Company of Waynesboro, Virginia, to meet the peculiar needs of this subterranean installation. Then the organ was connected to various stalactites with over five miles of wiring.

Text via Luray Caverns. Images via VENUE


Seeing at the Speed of Sound

March 21, 2013

Lipreading, which makes one sense do the work of another, is a skill daunting to describe. Rachel Kolb, ’12, deaf since birth, shares its mysteries.

I am sitting in my office during a summer internship. Absorbed by my computer screen, I do not notice when my manager enters the room, much less when he starts talking. Only when a sudden hand taps my shoulder do I jump. He is gazing expectantly at me.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you come in,” I say.

“Oh, right.” His expression changes: to surprise, and then to caution. He proceeds to say something that looks like, “Would you graawl blub blub vhoom mwarr hreet twizzolt, please?” I haven’t the faintest idea what he said. I have no excuse, for I was looking straight at him. But despite my attention, something went wrong. He spoke too fast; my eyes lost focus.

“Um, could you repeat that, please?” I ask.

His eyebrows raise, but he nods and says it again. I sit up straighter, attempt to concentrate, but again it reaches my eyes as a garbled mess.

“It’s fine,” he answers. “I’ll send you an email.”

Written by Rachel Kolb at Standford Magazine. Continue HERE. Image Via


Sound Made Visible: Piano notes made visible on the CymaScope

February 24, 2013

For the first time in history individual piano notes have been made visible using the CymaScope instrument. The piano notes were painstakingly recorded by Evy King and then fed into the CymaScope one by one and the results recorded in high definition video. Click HERE to see sound.

Shannon Novak, a New Zealand-born fine artist, commissioned us to image 12 piano notes as inspiration for a series of 12 musical canvases. We decided to image the notes in video mode because when we observed the ‘A1′ note we discovered, surprisingly, that the energy envelope changes over time as the string’s harmonics mix in the piano’s wooden bridge. Instead of the envelope being fairly stable, as we had imagined, the harmonics actually cause the CymaGlyphs to be wonderfully dynamic. Our ears can easily detect the changes in the harmonics and the CymaScope now reveals them–probably a first in acoustic physics.

Capturing the dynamics was only possible with HD video but taming the dynamics of the piano’s first strike, followed by the short plateau and long decay phase, was tricky. We achieved the result with the help of a professional audio compressor operating in real time.

The Cymascope is an instrument that makes sound or music visible, creating detailed 3D impressions of sound or music vibrations. Here the rapidly expanding sphere is captured in a frozen moment. The interior reveals a beautiful and complex structure representing the rich harmonic nature of violin music.

All text and images via Cymascope


Mechanics of suspended time by MUFI.RE -Rui Almeida-

February 19, 2013

Improvised with an antique clock with unique characteristics due to it’s malfunction and two additional clocks equally as old but working perfectly. Driven by the usual premise: the reaction to stimuli on the unpredictability of (seemingly) random sounds, and in this particular case the management of confrontation between different measures of time.

Recorded in Guimarães, Portugal, June 2012. Special thanks to Luís Gonçalves.

Click HERE to listen.

Via Impulsive Habitat


Numbercult – Triangulation Music

February 14, 2013

Numbercult has created a series of visual music pieces that explore the use of Voronoi tessellation, and intersecting nodal networks using VVVV. The works are marked by a refined use of color, and a cross-wiring of sound and video resulting in narratives of pure geometric abstraction.


Five Introverted Machines

February 13, 2013

A small piece for five identical first generation cassette players. The tape head of each machine is detached and extended allowing each machine to probe its own electromagnetic emissions, in an uncanny display of self-awareness.
By Stephen Cornford


J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visualized on a Möbius Strip

February 13, 2013

A rudimentary animation and a mind blowing assertion.

By graphic artist Jos Leys


Laurie Anderson interviews Brian Eno

February 7, 2013

If humans were able to hear light and parse the poetry of the spectrum, then perhaps there would be no need for Brian Eno, who seems to do it effortlessly. While the rest of us are generally content to hear sound, Eno can clearly see it. How else to explain the elaborate sonic color fields and glowing soundscapes that he creates, which feel as much like floating shapes and waves of light as they do music? And how else to make sense of a body of work that has been by turns challenging and definitive and spread across an expanse of disparate worlds and genres, from his early work with Roxy Music, to his ever-evolving solo oeuvre, to the colossal swoosh of his frequent collaborations with U2, to his numerous art projects, compositional gambits, and multimedia installations—not to mention the three ambient-music-generating apps, Scape, Bloom, and Trope, that he has created with musician and software designer Peter Chilvers.

ANDERSON: You know, when we were working in New York, we had this thing about, “If it goes with the river, then it goes on the record.” I always think of that. How would you describe your criteria for that? I could think of mine, but when you looked at the river, what would you say the music had to do or not do?

ENO: Well, for me, it was something to do with stillness and non-chaoticness—some sort of belonging, rather than something contrived that just appeared last night and will disappear this evening. It was the sense of wanting to make something that felt like it had a place in the world, rather than something that you just kind of stuck on for a little while to see how it works. The feeling of something that felt rooted and properly positioned in that sense, I suppose. That was what the river was for—to remind me of that link.

Text and Interview by Laurie Anderson. Photography Sølve Sundsbø. Continue HERE


Landfill Harmonic and the musicallity of the discarded

December 11, 2012

Landfill Harmonic is an upcoming feature-length documentary about a remarkable musical orchestra in Paraguay, where young musicians play instruments made from trash. For more information about the film, please visit


HOW TO SING (Meine Gesangskunst) by Lilli Lehmann

December 4, 2012

How to Sing is one of the most influential of all singing guides by Lilli Lehmann, one of opera’s first international superstars. Explores how to breathe correctly, produce a ringing head tone and execute a proper trill as well as important nuances of vocal expression, language, and role interpretation. Features recommended vocal exercises and guidelines for proper care of the voice.

Read for free HERE thanks to Project Gutemberg.

Picture 14


Oramics Machine, c. 1959

November 23, 2012

The Oramics Machine is a unique electronic instrument invented by Daphne Oram (1925-2003).

Throughout the 1960s it was the focus of Oram’s determination to create a device to realize her musical imagination. With two grants from the Gulbenkian Foundation and the participation of several engineers, she was able to develop this unique machine.

On the Oramics Machine, Oram controlled both the structure of a piece and how it sounded by painting on strips of 35mm film. The fundamental sound came from waveforms that she also painted onto glass slides.

Daphne created her extraordinary music machine at a time when synthesizers as we know them were not available. In the 1950s and early 1960s, musicians wanting to use new sounds had to adapt devices made for other purposes. Laboratory signal generators, natural sounds and, especially, tape recorders were pressed into service. Oram produced many compositions that way, but she also dream of making machines that would give her complete control of compositions and how they sounded.

The Oramics system has two principal components. At its heart is the wooden cabinet that contains the waveform scanners. A glass slide with a wave-like shape drawn onto it, the waveform, is inserted into the scanner. Inside the scanner a flying spot from a cathode-ray tube traces the shape repeatedly. The speed at which this happens determines the pitch of the sound. The output of the scanning tube is then passed through the programmer and passed to a recording device or audio amplifier and speakers.

The metal table-like structure is called the programmer. Here Daphne would manipulate the sound from the waveforms by drawing on 35 mm film strips. The top strips controlled the vibrato. Other strips influenced the speed of the scanners, defining the pitch, the reverberation level and the volume of the sound.

You can find more information about how the Oramics Machine works on the website of the Daphne Oram Trust.

The Oramics Machine was a constant work in progress. It was changed, improved and added to by Daphne and the people she worked with. This makes it a very interesting and ‘layered’ object. Together with Goldsmiths University of London, which holds the Daphne Oram Archive, and the Daphne Oram Trust, the Science Museum is exploring the history of the machine and trying to find out how exactly it worked and how Daphne used it.

For a long time, the location of the Oramics Machine was not generally known, but it was rediscovered by Dr Mick Grierson, Director of the Daphne Oram Collection, in 2009. The short film bellow shows how the machine arrived in London before it was acquired by the Science Museum in 2010.

A documentary following the co-curation of the ‘Oramics to Electronica’ exhibition at The Science Museum in London.

The exhibition centered around Daphne Oram’s legendary Oramics machine, and features exhibits co-curated by BBC Radiophonic Workshop, EMS and a group of contemporary electronic musicians.

All text and Info via Science Museum



October 31, 2012

Compose a simple musical score in a tweet, which can be saved on your account and replayed. At this point, Tweetphony has ended. Listen to Tweetphonies HERE


The Sound of the Earth by Yuri Suzuki

October 19, 2012

The Sound of the Earth is a content of Yuri Suzuki`s spherical record project, the grooves representing the outlines of the geographic land mass.
Each country on the disc is engraved with a different sound, as the needle passes over it plays field recordings collected by Yuri Suzuki from around the world over the course of four years; traditional folk music, national anthems, popular music and spoken word broadcasts.

An aural journey around the world in 30 minutes.